Recently, I had a little rummage around the inner north’s zine scene to see what kinds of zines were coming out. Though it is incredibly hard to find a zinester or small press who is actively promoting their zines as ‘Art from Melbourne’s inner north’, I narrowed down my little collection to four of my favourites. Of course taste in zines is just as subjective as anything else- I am partial to the sometimes-considered unpopular poetry zine and ones with lots of illustrations. But I have selected a small but diverse sample of zines that the inner north has to offer.
The first zine I have chosen to review is ‘Witch Songs’ by Sophia Parsons Cope. It’s not really a poetry zine, but the prose is so beautiful it could pass as prose poetry. Exploring ‘witchy shit, pastoral melancholy and esoteric garbage’, she explores ‘magic, misery and Melbourne’. Her take on Brunswick and nostalgia for England is enchanting as she explores the feelings that come with living away from home. Her writing is elegant and soulful, I found myself stopping for a moment between each paragraph, just to take it all in. Her illustrations are equally as magical and I love the little illustration of the snail on the back cover. You can find her and her work on soufexdraws.tumblr.com and on Etsy.
‘Shit People At Gigs’ by Olivia Grbac is a zine that is distributed by DIY publishing project Helio Press in Brunswick, who specialise in risograph printing. ‘Shit People At Gigs’ pretty much sums up all the horrible stereotypes of not so friendly people that you see or meet at shows. I laughed a lot while reading this zine, and the gnarly illustrations add a little extra cringe. I also really adore risograph printed zines, they just have a different sort of quality to regularly printed zines. You can find Olivia Grbac on Instagram @livgrbac and Tumblr.
Another zine put out by Helio Press is ‘Every Morning’ by Mel Stringer. Also risograph printed, ‘Every Morning’ contains a glimpse into the morning routines of thirteen different women. A portrait of each woman, illustrated by Stringer, accompanies the text. I was drawn to this zine, mainly for its fluorescent pink and yellow aesthetic, and the casual story-telling nature of the writing. This is a good zine to read on a bus or train, or with a cup of tea. You can find Mel Stringer on her website, @melstringer on Instagram and Tumblr. Helio Press is also active on Instagram and Twitter @heliopress and on Tumblr.
The final zine that I’ve chosen is ‘Lung Rubble’ by Alice Chipkin. I met Alice Chipkin at the Sticky Institute Zine Fair earlier this month. I picked up one of her zines at her stall and was immediately transfixed. ‘Lung Rubble’ is a beautiful zine filled with really honest poetry and illustrations, exploring love, relationships, travel and queerness. I was mesmerised by Chipkin’s thoughtful use of words and ways of expressing herself. This is the kind of zine that I look for when I am hoping to immerse myself in poetry. You can find Chipkin on Tumblr at alicechipkin.tumblr.com. Chipkin also has a graphic memoir coming out in April—a collaboration with Jessica Tavassoli called ‘Eyes Too Dry’, check out the details at eyestoodry.tumblr.com, and support their Pozible campaign.
Feature Image Credit @heliopress